To say that I don't know how we lost this game is the understatement of the season......so far. It never felt like we were going to lose this game but we did! We started the game very well and should have been out of sight in the the first 20 min of the game. We had four huge chances but did not manage to convert any before a long punt from Nippon caught our defence unaware and the strikers first time shot somehow found its way past our keeper. Sucker-punched, we started to regain our vision and again took hold of the game. A few sporadic speedy breaks from our Japanese counterparts posed a few problems but Vikings dominated the possession. It was no surprise when Meli drew us level on the stroke of half time when he headed past the impressive Nippon goalkeeper, after good work down the right side. Within seconds of the restart, despite talking heavily at half time about staying focused, we conceded from a free kick just outside our area - a quick pass to a guy on the edge of the box and the unmarked player buried it into the corner of the net. Again we wrestled control of the game and just before the second water break we pulled level after our midfield broke away and played in our Czech goal machine who dispatched with ease. Surely, there was only to be one winner from here on in! Slow to start we found ourselves behind again after a long ball was not dealt with and a Nippon player went clear to score - deja vu. We were awarded a penalty when the referee spotted a foul in the box and Meli completed his hat-rick from the resulting kick. In total control and no real threat from the opposition our first three points in an age were there to be secured, instead another long bouncing ball was not cut out and the young gun Nippon guy hit a first time shot from fully 30 yards, which ended up in the top right corner. The ref ended the game 7 minutes later with the victory going to Nippon by 4 goals to 3, none of us could believe it. Congratulations to Nippon on their first victory of the season and plaudits to the referee who had an impressive game. To Vikings, we know what we need to do so let's start doing it!
Very hot Saturday afternoon, even with seesaw battle throughout the game set all players literally dog-tired but luck came upon Nippon…bringing first win in the season. The game was not easy for both sides with Kaki scoring 1st goal of the match. The equalizer came soon after with header by No.10 Ales of Vikings who was definitely the best player on the pitch in the game. Second half was much more open with 2 goals by Kaki and 2 both scored by Ales again when Uchi scored the decisive one, around 35mins, from the long distance after receiving pass from GK Taka. The first win for Nippon this season after having lost many chances to get 3 points. Thanks Vikings for the fighting spirit till the end and excellent referees for the match. Hope to keep winning next matches.